Bournemouth EchoFirms warned over zero hour contracts (From Bournemouth Echo)

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Firms warned over zero hour contracts

Bournemouth Echo: Coles Miller employment law solicitor Amy Cousineau Coles Miller employment law solicitor Amy Cousineau

EMPLOYERS using zero hours contracts should immediately review them amid growing concerns about their controversial terms and conditions.

That is the warning from Dorset law firm Coles Miller, which says the “social tide is turning” against the contracts.

There are 582,935 employees in the UK on zero hours contracts – treble the number in 2010, according to the Office for National Statistics. But the union Unite, drawing on research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, claims the real number could be up to a million.

The contracts are often used in the hospitality industry and in the care sector, which need access to a flexible pool of labour. The flexibility in the contracts means there is no obligation for companies to offer hours or for workers to accept them.

But Coles Miller employment law solicitor Amy Cousineau said all employers using the contracts should review them immediately.

“Employers typically use zero hours contracts to cover last minute events or peaks in demand,” she said.

“For this reason they tend to be associated with the hospitality and care industries which need regular access to flexible workers and would otherwise have to employ more expensive agency staff.

“But it looks as if the social tide is turning against zero hours contracts because they are perceived to be a less secure form of employment.”

Zero hours contracts are already illegal in France, Belgium and Spain – and the UK could follow suit in outlawing them, she said.

Ms Cousineau added: “Zero hours contracts may seem like a cost effective option but they are not without their pitfalls.”

She said some employers currently using zero hours contracts were planning to switch staff to fixed contracts – but that could come with difficulties of its own.

“Any change in contract terms has the potential to create loopholes or trigger unintended consequences so it makes sense to get expert legal advice,” she added.

Comments (8)

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1:22pm Fri 21 Mar 14

kalebmoledirt says...

How many NHS bank nursing staff fall into the Zero hours contract
How many NHS bank nursing staff fall into the Zero hours contract kalebmoledirt
  • Score: 6

4:05pm Fri 21 Mar 14

trolley says...

they should be outlawed. another erosion of employment rights. actual fulltime jobs are becoming so scarce because of these.
One of the most successful companies out there Sports Direct uses them heavily.
Exploitation -end of
they should be outlawed. another erosion of employment rights. actual fulltime jobs are becoming so scarce because of these. One of the most successful companies out there Sports Direct uses them heavily. Exploitation -end of trolley
  • Score: 5

4:21pm Fri 21 Mar 14

Diesel Dog says...

If your unlucky enough to be on a zero hours contract

your employer should be made to pay a 200 percent NI Contribution of your earnings when you earn.

If you cant run a business without permanent staff with permanent hours your not fit to be in business.

That will sort these rip off merchants out.
If your unlucky enough to be on a zero hours contract your employer should be made to pay a 200 percent NI Contribution of your earnings when you earn. If you cant run a business without permanent staff with permanent hours your not fit to be in business. That will sort these rip off merchants out. Diesel Dog
  • Score: 4

4:23pm Fri 21 Mar 14

pete woodley says...

Diesel Dog wrote:
If your unlucky enough to be on a zero hours contract

your employer should be made to pay a 200 percent NI Contribution of your earnings when you earn.

If you cant run a business without permanent staff with permanent hours your not fit to be in business.

That will sort these rip off merchants out.
Will it ?,
[quote][p][bold]Diesel Dog[/bold] wrote: If your unlucky enough to be on a zero hours contract your employer should be made to pay a 200 percent NI Contribution of your earnings when you earn. If you cant run a business without permanent staff with permanent hours your not fit to be in business. That will sort these rip off merchants out.[/p][/quote]Will it ?, pete woodley
  • Score: 1

5:52pm Fri 21 Mar 14

ShuttleX says...

Is there any difference between Zero Hours Contracts and employing Agency staff? Either one are not guaranteed employment every day. Bournemouth Council employ quite a number of Agency staff, some of whom may be told to go home, at say lunch time, with no pay. Whilst I can understand hiring these people for a short one off event, some have been working, indirectly, for the Council for months, sometimes even years. Typically the worker gets about a third of what the Council pay the Agency. I know people have tried find out the total amount spent by BBC on Agency Staff via FOI requests, but as expected, they never got an answer.
Is there any difference between Zero Hours Contracts and employing Agency staff? Either one are not guaranteed employment every day. Bournemouth Council employ quite a number of Agency staff, some of whom may be told to go home, at say lunch time, with no pay. Whilst I can understand hiring these people for a short one off event, some have been working, indirectly, for the Council for months, sometimes even years. Typically the worker gets about a third of what the Council pay the Agency. I know people have tried find out the total amount spent by BBC on Agency Staff via FOI requests, but as expected, they never got an answer. ShuttleX
  • Score: 3

6:31pm Fri 21 Mar 14

twynhamob says...

Not sure what the "news" is in this piece , feels more like an advertisement for Amy Cousineau, and I am sure her bosses at Cole-Miller are very pleased with her resourcefulness.
Not sure what the "news" is in this piece , feels more like an advertisement for Amy Cousineau, and I am sure her bosses at Cole-Miller are very pleased with her resourcefulness. twynhamob
  • Score: 1

6:53pm Fri 21 Mar 14

keith milton says...

if the 'bradbury pound' was brought back,

the financial system would be fixed over night and everyone could earn a decent wage.
if the 'bradbury pound' was brought back, the financial system would be fixed over night and everyone could earn a decent wage. keith milton
  • Score: 0

10:21am Fri 28 Mar 14

HRProfessional says...

keith milton wrote:
if the 'bradbury pound' was brought back,

the financial system would be fixed over night and everyone could earn a decent wage.
What is the 'bradbury pound'?

Personally I think these companies should be named and shamed as they are often well established and profitable. Sporting organisations are some of the worst even claiming there is no 'mutual obligation' in an attempt to remove all employment rights. HR in an organisation I recently had the misfortune to deal with treated an Asperger 'employee' disgracefully informing him that he had 'no rights whatsoever!'
[quote][p][bold]keith milton[/bold] wrote: if the 'bradbury pound' was brought back, the financial system would be fixed over night and everyone could earn a decent wage.[/p][/quote]What is the 'bradbury pound'? Personally I think these companies should be named and shamed as they are often well established and profitable. Sporting organisations are some of the worst even claiming there is no 'mutual obligation' in an attempt to remove all employment rights. HR in an organisation I recently had the misfortune to deal with treated an Asperger 'employee' disgracefully informing him that he had 'no rights whatsoever!' HRProfessional
  • Score: 0

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